Wes Bunting: I agree. He was absolutely dominant in all areas of the game. What's so intriguing about him is he's 6'4'', 300 pounds. He can play as a 5-technique. He explodes off the snap, but what's so impressive about his game is his ability to extend his arms, maintain balance and that jolt he creates on contact just overwhelms people. He can anchor in the run game and he does a great job of finding the football.
A lot of these talented guys can't find the football. Just because you beat a block doesn't put you around the ball to make a play. He consistently finds the football, so his combination of balance, leverage, ability to shed blocks and find the football against the run and the pass? That's what makes him truly special. Big Suh was so physically dominant and it's hard to compare Fairley to a physical marvel like Suh but if Fairley were to stay another year, he could be just as dominant and he might have better instincts finding the football. He was just that good. I've only seen him one time, 'cause I didn't think he would come out but after watching him for four quarters, he's the best defensive lineman I've seen to this point.
Cowboys Nation: We talked a lot last week about Marcell Dareus and we've talked a lot about the Clayborns and the Baileys and the Ballards. Is he clearly above those guys?
Wes Bunting: I'll repeat, I've only seen one game and I can go back, and it's all heresay until he declares, but if you put the proverbial gun to my head and said, Wes, take a defensive lineman, I'm taking Nick Fairley. He was unreal.
Cowboys Nation: There was a play that stands out. You're going to know what I'm talking about. It was late in the 3rd quarter, a passing down. Fairley lined up shaded on the left guard's outside shoulder. LSU's left tackle pinched to help double-team Fairley, and he put his left hand on the guards shoulder, his right hand on the tackles shoulder and pulled them apart, rushed through and made the sack. He looked like Samson smashing the pillars of the temple.
Wes Bunting: It was just unexplainable, and he's a true junior. He's not a redshirt junior, he's a true junior. He's 21. He might be 20 right now. He's a rock. He's something. "
Negatives: Had been very unproductive prior to this season, just 28 tackles and one sack during his sophomore season... Former junior college transfer who started just two games prior to this season... Can wear down a bit as the game progresses... Has not had to show a variety of pass rushing moves this early in the season... Plays a little high... Technique needs to be polished."
Fairley's blend of size and speed is truly incredible. He stands at 6'5'' and 298 pounds, and he has been clocked as fast as 4.83 in the 40-yard dash. An athletic defender, Fairley plays inside in Auburn's vaunted defense but he could move outside in a 3-4 scheme at the next level. It's a jump that he will likely make after his junior year based on his recent performance, and there is no reason to think he won't continue to astound at the combine. Assuming he leaves, Fairley should be soaring into first-round consideration."
He has shown he can take over games, as he did against LSU and Alabama, and has rare hip flexibility and explosion to drive through ballcarriers and send quarterbacks to the sideline. He has been known to deliver cheap shots, and his rogue style of play borders on unsportsmanlike, but it may win favor with many old-school coaches. He has the length to warrant looks outside but is best playing in gaps."
He can play 3.4, he can play 4.3, and he is almost certainly going Top 10, in either case, if not Top 3.
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